Download our 5 Keys to Data-Driven Year-End Fundraising eBook and start crushing your goals!

Breakthrough case study image

Case Study

Breakthrough

How a Chicago-based urban ministry leveraged GivingDNA to identify a list of 76 donors that would commit to helping them raise $40,000 to meet a match goal on GivingTuesday. They exceeded their goal by $6,000, raising $86,000 in one day

 
 
 

By the
Numbers

$46k

Raised on GivingTuesday with an additional $40k matched

76

People GivingDNA identified who typically give $1,000+

By the
Numbers

$46k

Raised on GivingTuesday with an additional $40k matched

76

People GivingDNA identified who typically give $1,000+

 

Founded in 1992 by Arloa Sutter as a free coffee gathering spot on the north side of Chicago, Breakthrough quickly expanded to serve meals to persons experiencing homelessness. In the years that followed, the organization’s services continued to expand, adding clean streets, housing, medical, behavioral health, and violence prevention programs. Current Executive Director Yolanda Fields succeeded Sutter in 2021, bringing a wealth of experience and passion for working with women transitioning away from crisis and toward stability.

Today, Breakthrough employs over 150, has over 3,000 volunteers, and serves over 8,000 engaged participants with an annual budget of $14.1 million. Its key focus areas are education & youth development, economic opportunity, housing, health & wellness, violence prevention, and spiritual formation.

quote-icon

We looked at GivingTuesday and felt the airways were just too saturated with all the other nonprofits’ messages. But last year (2021), that changed.

-Kirsten Strand, Director of Donor Relations


The Potential

Though already well established and thriving, Breakthrough administrators recognized opportunities to hone their fundraising operations as well as take better advantage of “Giving Tuesday,” a widely popular fundraising blitz day for the nonprofit sector, typically slated for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The relatively new GivingTuesday tradition started in 2012 as a social media hashtag meant to rally philanthropic generosity on the heels of the private sector’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Previously, Breakthrough had decided not to devote extra time and fundraising resources toward GivingTuesday, instead favoring a late-October annual benefit event and an end-of-year appeal. “We looked at GivingTuesday and felt the airways were just too saturated with all the other nonprofits’ messages,” said Director of Donor Relations Kirsten Strand. “But last year (2021), that changed.”

Thrivent, a Fortune 500 self-described as a “holistic financial services organization,” approached Breakthrough with an offer too tempting to pass up. “They offered a challenge grant,” Strand explained. “That is, if we could raise $40,000 on GivingTuesday, Thrivent would match up to $40,000.”

Hitting $40,000 in donations in one day would be a challenge, especially since Breakthrough hadn’t intentionally campaigned specifically for GivingTuesday. “We figured the only way we could be successful with this is if we could identify ahead of time a significant group of donors who would be willing to commit to doing that,” Strand said. “We aimed to get at least half of that $40,000 amount precommitted.”

 

The Solution

Having this sudden and ambitious goal of raising at least $40,000 in a single day prompted Breakthrough’s fundraising staff to reevaluate their existing CRM. With a very small team and only one CRM administrator, they were having trouble pulling reports, as well as pulling together specific desired types of donor data. Those difficulties, as well as the newfound urgency around identifying the donors in their database who might be willing to commit to the GivingTuesday Thrivent challenge, led them to consider GivingDNA, the next-generation data analytics and wealth screening tool. Following a quick onboarding of GivingDNA, Breakthrough’s fundraising staff jumped into action. Knowing their first GivingTuesday push for donations would come on the heels of their annual benefit, the campaign would have to be specific and targeted to individuals with a high giving capacity and high likelihood of saying “yes.”

The Results

Strand and her staff used GivingDNA’s advanced segmentation features to pull a list of 76 people who typically give $1,000 or more via credit card each year around November. With such a narrowed down and targeted list, they were able to spend time creating hyper-personalized emails for each individual. As a result, many of them responded positively, committing to being a part of GivingTuesday.

The Breakthrough fundraising team and their newly implemented GivingDNA wealth screening and data analytics platform raised $46,000, surpassing their goal and meeting Trivent’s match challenge, nearly doubling their take for GivingTuesday. Thrivent gave them praise as one of three top nonprofits who did an outstanding job in setting the bar for how to succeed in a 1-day fundraising blitz and setting the bar for future match challenges. “We definitely could not have done that if we hadn’t made all of that targeted outreach ahead of time, thanks to GivingDNA,” Strand said.

Shapes-bg